Well the run of beautiful weather continues and whilst temperatures in the high 20's is not uncommon in April it is the high night time temperatures that are quite unusual. Growth across the courses has slowed which was nice with a four day working week last week and a three day this week making things tight. The other bonus has been the lack of wind which has meant the courses have stayed clear of leaf debris meaning our efforts can be concentrated on the main playing areas.
I realise I harp on about unrepaired pitchmarks but even with the West greens much firmer they are still evident. So much so that I now have a staff member specifically sent out to repair pitchmarks in front of the mowers in the mornings. With limited crew numbers this takes a man away from other tasks preparing the courses.
Weather permitting next Tuesday the West greens will receive a minor renovation consisting of a de-thatch and sanding. The greens have quite a bit of thatch build up which is defined as - "The intermingled layer of living and dead grass stems, roots and other organic matter that is found between the soil surface and the leaf blades". It is a bit unusual for them to have such high levels particularly at this time of year and it is causing them to mark up quite badly from foot traffic. (Although when you see some of the "golf shoes" that are worn out there they don't stand a chance!) The sanding will be of great benefit to help level the surface back up and fill in some of the thousands of pitchmarks. The sanding is a regular operation but can't be done over summer as the West greens would literally cook and we will need to keep a close eye on them even with the current temperatures.
The West greens also need a deep tine aeration which is done with a machine called a "Verti-drain" that is able to penetrate around 175 mm (7 inches) with little to no surface disruption. Once again this is a standard operation for this time of year to allow for some good air exchange.